‘It’s Just Math’: Dave Ramsey Reveals Why People Are Really Fleeing California

By: Julia Mehalko | Published: Jul 08, 2024

Financial guru Dave Ramsey has opened up about his thoughts on the ongoing California Exodus, which has seen many residents of the Golden State leave their homes to move elsewhere.

Many Californians have chosen to start over in another state because of how expensive California has become across the board. According to Ramsey, people are therefore fleeing the state because they’re doing simple math.

An Ongoing California Exodus

For the past almost 10 years, countless Californians have chosen to leave the state and buy a home in another, more affordable state. This exodus really took off, however, during the pandemic.

A close-up of a U-Haul truck in the daytime.

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While some data suggested that the California Exodus was slowing down — or perhaps even ending — newer reporting has hinted that people are still fleeing the state for a variety of reasons.


California’s Population Continues to Drop

A Consumer Affairs 2024 Migration Trends report has recently indicated that population numbers in the state will continue to drop throughout the rest of this year.

A view of many old homes in San Francisco with cars parked out front.

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While Californians from up and down the coast are finding a new home in another state, some California cities are seeing large migration movements. For example, San Francisco and Los Angeles are two of the biggest cities that are seeing people leave.

Why Californians Are Leaving

There are a variety of reasons why residents of the Golden State have chosen to leave their homes. Everybody seems to have a different story.

A view of cars parked on a California street near homes and palm trees, with the Hollywood sign in the distance.

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However, most have chosen to find a new home in another state because of California’s skyrocketing cost of living. For many, California has become too expensive to live in.

High Housing Costs

Housing prices have also jumped to extraordinary heights in the last few years. California housing has always been expensive — but now, these prices have fully pushed many out of the housing market completely.

An aerial view of a California neighborhood with many homes, streets, and cars.

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As a result, many residents have realized they can find a more affordable home in another state in the country.

Other Factors

While California’s housing and cost of living tend to be the main reasons why many have fled the state, there are other factors to consider.

A California state flag on a pole next to an American one.

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For example, some have chosen to leave the state because of the increase in environmental issues, such as natural disasters. The increase in wildfires seen throughout the state has worried many. Others may have decided to pack up, once and for all, because of politics, crime, and the homelessness crisis.


Ramsey’s Take

Ramsey, who has long been considered a noteworthy personal financial guru for many, recently opened up about the predicament many Californians now face.

Dave Ramsey talking with his hand raised.

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As the state’s cost of living continues to skyrocket, many of the state’s residents have struggled to meet these higher costs. As a result, they’re debating whether they should stay in the home they know and love — or start over elsewhere.


Leaving California

Ramsey first started his discussion about the California Exodus over on X, formerly known as Twitter.

A view of the tops of homes in California during sunset.

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Taking to the social media platform, Ramsey asked his followers, “Do you know anyone who’s moved out of California recently?”


A Personal Story

Ramsey then shared a story on an episode of the Dave Ramsey show about one of his friends who recently moved from California to Nashville, even though he’s lived in the Golden State his entire life.

A bird’s eye view of downtown Nashville seen in the daytime.

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Ramsey explained that this friend was able to buy himself a brand new home in cash with the money he was able to save now that he wasn’t paying income taxes in California.


Ramsey Explains the Math

According to Ramsey, people like his friend are only leaving California because it has gotten too expensive. Therefore, they’re just doing the math.

A view of a pile of one hundred dollar bills.

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Ramsey explained, “One year with no California income tax bought him a cash house in Nashville. That’s why people are leaving. It’s math.”


A Difficult Decision

Ramsey further detailed how the decision to leave California is an incredibly difficult choice to make, and he understands that.

An aerial view of many homes with pools in California.

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“I also understand that it’s a beautiful, wonderful place, and it’s hard to leave home,” he stated. However, he then explained that if people are trying to save money or live a better life with the income they have, they might have to make the difficult decision to leave.


Ramsey’s Advice

Ramsey then stated that if he were the one making this decision to leave California, he would do so, especially if money and the state’s high cost of living were the main deciding factor in his move.

A view of the Golden Gate Bridge seen in California.

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He said, “Mathematically, if I’m you, I’m gone.”